B. Bumble and the Stingers were an instrumental ensemble from the early 1960s, who specialized in rocking up classical melodies.
At Rendezvous Records in Los Angeles, the house band had a hit record with a rocked-up version of "In The Mood", credited to the Ernie Fields Orchestra. Band members Earl Palmer, Rene Hall and Plas Johnson then came up with the idea of taking the same approach to a piece of classical music, and approached pianist Jack Fina who had successfully arranged a swing version of Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumble Bee" - as "Bumble Boogie" - in 1946. Producer Kim Fowley instructed pianist Ernie Freeman to use Fina's arrangement, but recorded him on two tracks, one using a grand piano for the rhythm part, whilst the other featured a doctored upright with thumb tacks attached to the hammers. Credited to B. Bumble and the Stingers, "Bumble Boogie" went to # 21 on the Billboard charts in 1961. Read more
A teen band from Oklahoma, who had played no part in the recording itself, were recruited to handle promotion and public appearances. Their names were given as Fred Richard, Ron Brady, and the unlikely-sounding William "Billy" Bumble.
The follow-ups, "Boogie Woogie" and "Caravan", flopped, and the record company lost interest. Fowley then secured the copyright to an arrangement of Tchaikovsky's "March of the Wooden Soldiers", and recorded it on the Del-Rio label with H. B. Barnum, under the name Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks. Producer Rod Pierce at Rendezvous thought that they could do a better version with their own band, and recorded a new arrangement with Earl Palmer (drums), Tommy Tedesco (guitar), Red Callender (bass), and pianist Al Hazan (aka Ali Hassan) taking the place of the indisposed Freeman. Released as "Nut Rocker" in February 1962, the record went to # 23 in the US and # 1 in the U.K.
However, despite a touring band being formed to promote them, further B. Bumble and the Stingers recordings failed to match the success of "Nut Rocker", and the musicians who played on the hits continued their own careers on sessions and in touring bands.
A version of "Nut Rocker" was recorded in 1972 by Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.